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Line-by-Line Tips for Form 1040-EZ (Tax Year 2012)

1040-EZ: Lines 1 through 7


Note: These instructions for Form 1040-EZ apply to the tax year 2012 only.

Print your name, address, and Social Security Number at the top of the form.

Double check the spelling of your name and your Social Security number (SSN).

Your refund may be delayed if your name or SSN does not match your Social Security records, or if you make a mistake in your address.

Make sure the name used on your tax return matches the name shown on your Social Security card. If you changed your name, you will need to update your name with the Social Security Administration before you file a tax return using your new name.

Line 1: Wages, Salaries and Tips

This line is used to report the total amount of wages, salaries and tips that were earned for the year 2012. These amounts are reported to the individual from the employer using Form W-2. Gather all your W-2 statements from each job you worked during the year.

Look in Box 1 of the Form W-2. This amount reflects wages taxable for the federal income tax. Using a calculator, add up the Box 1 amounts from every Form W-2 you have.

Put the total figure on Line 1.

Line 2: Interest

This line is used to report the total amount of interest that was earned for the year 2012. These income amounts are reported to the individual from the bank or other financial institution using Form 1099-INT. Gather all your 1099-INT statements for the year.

Using a calculator, add up all the interest amounts from every 1099-INT.

Put the total figure on Line 2.

Line 3: Unemployment Compensation and Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends

Gather all your 1099-G statements from the state agency or agencies that paid you unemployment compensation. The amount paid as unemployment compensation is reported in Box 1 of Form 1099-G. Put the total amount of your unemployment benefits on Form 1040-EZ Line 3.

If you received Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, put the figure reported to you by the State of Alaska on Line 3.

If you have both unemployment compensation and Alaskan dividends, add the two figures together and put the total on Line 3 of Form 1040-EZ.

Line 4: Adjusted Gross Income

Using a calculator, add the figures on Lines 1, 2, and 3 of your Form 1040-EZ.

Put the total figure on Line 4.

This figure is your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). AGI is also a widely used measurement of your income for the year by banks and other financial institutions. If a lender wants to know your adjusted gross income, you'll know to look for it on Line 4 of Form 1040-EZ.

Line 5: Personal Exemptions & Standard Deduction

Can your parents, or someone else, claim you as a dependent? Basically, you may be a dependent if you do not pay for more than half of your living expenses. If you're not sure, ask your parents or guardians if they will be claiming you as a dependent on their tax return.

If you are being claimed as a dependent, check the appropriate box or boxes on Line 5. Use the worksheet on page 2 of Form 1040-EZ to calculate the amount to use on line 5.

If you are not being claimed as a dependent, leave the boxes on Line 5 unchecked. If you are single (unmarried), put the figure $9,750 on Line 5. If you are married, put the figure $19,500 on Line 5.

These figures ($9,750 for single people, and $19,500 for married people) represent the combination of your Standard Deduction and your Personal Exemption. On the other tax forms (1040-A and 1040), these two amounts are listed separately.

Together, this figure represents the amount of income which is tax-free. You only pay federal income tax on the income over this amount.

If you earn less than $9,750 (single) or $19,500 (married), your income is fee of the federal income tax. However, you might want file a tax return anyway. By filing a tax return, you can request a refund from any tax that was withheld on your paycheck. You may also qualify for the Earned Income Credit. You will need to file a tax return to let the IRS know how much to refund to you.

Line 6: Taxable Income

Using a calculator, enter the figure from Line 4 (your Adjusted Gross Income), and then subtract the figure from Line 5 (your Standard Deduction and Personal Exemption).

Put the result on Line 6. This is your taxable income.

This figure will be used to calculate your federal income tax.

Line 7: Federal Income Tax Withheld

Go back to your W-2 statements. Look at Box 2. This is the amount of federal income tax that was withheld from your paychecks and sent to the IRS on your behalf.

Using a calculator, add up the Box 2 amounts from every W-2 you have.

Put the total figure on Line 7.

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